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A crafter’s stash consists of the materials required to engage in that craft. It may consist of yarn, fabric, paint, beads, bits of metal, or anything else required to engage in the craft. I would venture to guess that all crafters have some stash whether it is boxes and bag full of materials that would last a lifetime, or only enough for the next project. I would also guess that, given enough time, crafters will experience the inexplicable phenomenon of their stash growing of it’s own accord.

Given the number of crafts that I engage in, and the amount of time I have been crafting, my stash is pretty small; however, the amount of space allocated to my stash in my tiny house is even smaller. After cleaning up the working area of my little craft studio last week, and putting away all of the pieces of my stash that had been left out, I realized that the cabinet in which my stash is stored needed a good de-cluttering too.

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Here is the before and after! Wow, look at the difference! What is the secret to my success? Bags that can fit 3 blanket into the space of one, baskets whose interior dimensions are greater than their exterior dimensions, or hiding everything under the bed? No! I also didn’t spend any money on clever organizational gizmos, or new baskets, or magical vacuum bags. In fact, I didn’t spend any money at all. So how did I do it?

I got rid of stuff. A lot of stuff. 3 garbage bags full of stuff. I mercilessly purged all of those items I did not love, or could not think of a purpose for. The small bits of fabric, too small to even make a napkin, suffered the worse. I put them all in a pile, and told my kids to give me those that they would like doll clothes made from (the only thing I routinely use small pieces of fabric for). The rest went in the trash (sorry quilters).

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My left over bits of yarn went in a basket my kids can reach so they can access them. They will now be easily accessed for kids projects, wrapping and tying things, and knitting experiments.

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The left over bits of fabric, and squares large enough for napkins (but not much else) are now in a drawer of their own.

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And my interfacing, stuffing, and dye have their own space now too.

I have to admit that I was scared to get rid of my stash at first. After all, it could be used to make something. And I love to make things. But now that it is over I feel a huge sense of relief. I am now left with those things I actually WANT to make into something, and I no longer have an insurmountable mountain of stuff bearing down on me waiting to be worked on.

I encourage all of you to turn a critical eye on your stash, be it big or small, and cut out the chaff. I think you will be glad once you have done it.

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I have been reducing the clutter in my house, and sharing the results with you in my power of less series. I will finish off national craft month, with crafty decluttering.

For me, having no space to craft is the most discouraging barricade to crafting. When my craft “studio” is a mess, nothing gets done until the clutter is cleared.

This decluttering was simply reestablishing my pre existing organizational system, rather than an overhaul of that system. I’m pretty happy with the results.

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In keeping with the theme of un-cluttering my clean on the outside, awful on the inside kitchen, this past weekend I tackled my spice cabinet.

Thing 1 and I started by taking everything out, including the shelves. We washed everything, even the spice bottles themselves. Then we started sorting. We threw out old spices, and merged duplicates. They were grouped by their type and use. The result was far less clutter, and easy access to the most used bottles.

Time: About 2 hours.
Cost: $0

I have heard before that the clutter in your fridge is predictive of the clutter in your home. If that is the case, then my home was headed for a mess.

While I regularly throw out old leftovers or spoiled veggies, I deep clean my fridge only rarely. This time it was past due for a good scrubbing. It was gross!

In this de-cluttering, I removed everything that could be removed. Everything was scrubbed with soap and water. Then only what was still in date and regularly used was returned to the fridge. Hopefully I’ll get to the freezer soon too.

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Today’s post is a bit different than those earlier in the week, in which I simply removed things from a space. Today, I have repurposed a pre existing object to better fit the needs of my family.

This armoire started as a cheap, prefab computer hutch, about 10 years ago. I honestly never though it would last this long but it has. Two or three years ago I decided to make it beautiful again, and transformed it into the green and black beauty you see today. Then I promptly stuffed it full of linens and let is sit next to my front door.

Now the linens are gone, regulated to another closet, the trash, or a charity, and in their place, are the odds and ins that are necessary, and typically in the way.

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As a result of this little project, I was also able to clean out the junk drawer in my kitchen. It had previously held the flashlights, candles, batteries, and light bulbs and was stuffed to the gills. Now I can get to these items much more easily, and my Tupperware has a place to stay.

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I am continuing the theme of Monday’s post, on the impact that simply removing clutter can have on a space. Again, I added nothing, not even paint. Instead I took away the trash and clutter, disposing of it, or putting it in it’s proper place as necessary. Total cost; $0, less than 1 hour.

This weekend I cleaned and organized the entry to my house, not by buying lots of little boxes and bins to put all of my stuff, or a new expensive piece of furniture that housed everything perfectly, but by getting rid of things. This week I will show you how cleaning and removing “stuff” alone can transform a space. We will start today with the front door.

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The debris was thrown in the trash, the pots were emptied of their contents and stored with the rest of the pots. My father in law and daughter used a at home version of a pressure washer to clean the side of the house and side walk. Total cost, $0, 1 hour.

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I like empty surfaces. Empty to the point of barren minimalism. They are free from visual clutter and easy to clean. So, if you were to come to my house on a good day, my kitchen counters would look something like this;

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But lurking below those clutter free countertops is a dirty little secret;

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Terribly cluttered kitchen drawers!

I couldn’t take it anymore. Let the culling begin!

I started by taking everything out of the drawers and placing it on the countertop, grouping like with like the best I could. This is the contents of only two drawers;

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There were 3 can openers, 5 basting brushes, 4 ladles, 2 whisks, at least 8 mixing spoons, and a large assortment of mismatched silverware, and a toothbrush, to name but a few. I culled the trash, the duplicates, and the unused. When I was done, this is what did not renter the drawers;

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I’m pretty happy with the results.

Since I started working full time, the clothing I wear on a regular basis has changed quite a bit. While at home I could spend the day in yoga pants and free of makeup, but at work it is different. At work I need to look somewhat professional. I need to wear clothes that fit, and makeup, and accessories. Dressing professionally, especially accessorizing, does not come naturally to me. Jewelry is especially difficult for me.

As I have struggled to find an accessory that matched my outfit every morning, I realized that trying to dig through a jumble of jewelry wasn’t really helping me, and I began searching for a better way – that also didn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Jewelry boxes were out since I don’t have enough counter space to house one. I needed something that utilized wall space. I found several wall mounted jewelry armoires that were lovely, but they were also pricy. So instead, I took my inspiration from some of the DIY versions I spotted on Pinterest. The problem with most of these was the lack of storage for stud type earrings. So I improvised. Here is the result;

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To make it, I used a cork board that I already had, and had already painted blue, some push pins, a small embroidery hoop, cheese cloth, and some ribbon. Since I already had everything on hand, the cost was $0.
Using a ruler I spaced the push pins 1 inch from the sides of the frame, and 1 inch apart.

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I placed several layers of cheese cloth in the embroidery hoop, and cut off the excess. Then I mounted the hoop to the board with a length of ribbon and some pins, which allowed the back to be easily accessed.

I am pretty happy with the result. It easily holds my meager jewelry collection, and keeps it easily accessible when I need it.

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Yesterday was the 12th and final day of Christmas, and the day I took down my christmas decorations. To me, nothing symbolizes the end of the holiday season, and the start of the new year quite like taking down the Christmas decorations. It feels like wiping the slate clean, beginning anew, and a great time to initiate new and better habits. While I, like many people, want to eat healthy and exercise more in 2013, what I want to do more than anything else is reduce the physical and mental clutter in my life. I started this year, by eliminating some of the clutter in my christmas decor.

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When my husband and I first got married we had virtually no christmas decorations. I made some bows for the doors, and bought a box of miniature ball shaped christmas ornaments for our 1 foot tall tree. Our collection of Christmas decorations has grown since then, and on this, our 8th married christmas, I lugged out of the garage 4 large storage containers of decorations, 1 small storage container of christmas decorations, a wreath box, and 2 small artificial christmas trees (a larger artificial tree stayed in the garage).

A few years ago I began to realize that not all of the decorations came out of all of the boxes every year, so I started removing those that were never used from our collection. The problem is that we continued to receive more decorations every year, and the net result was still addition to the collection, rather than subtraction. This year I was far more radical in my culling and I am proud to say that 1 large store box, 1 small storage box, and a large artificial christmas tree will not be making their way back into my garage this year!

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This is how I did it;
First I eliminated all of those decorations that were never used, and I didn’t really care for. These were often those decorations given to me at the beginning of my marriage by friends or relatives that knew I had few christmas decorations. These were generally cast offs from their own collections, given to help me start my own.

Next, I eliminated those decorations that I liked, but were not used either because they didn’t match the rest of my decor, or I never had occasion to use them. For instance, my family rarely drinks tea, so a tea pot shaped like a gingerbread house, while adorable, was not a useful part of my collection.

Next, I eliminated those decorations that were unused, but had been hanging around since childhood. These were some of the ornaments I had made in elementary school that were not special, and I had no attachment to, they were simply there, because they had always been there.

Last, I took a hard look at the remaining decorations. Everything that didn’t make me smile or feel warm and fuzzy inside, Everything that didn’t have meaning and purpose, was then eliminated.

I was left boxes full of objects that I have for a reason, they are special, meaningful, useful, and beautiful, and I know I will be happy to see the contents of these boxes next year!